Software companies move fast. Given the speed at which technology evolves, organizations must be flexible, nimble, and fully streamlined—or risk losing business to their competition. And that’s why most software businesses design processes and train workforces to be as agile as possible.
But as anyone who has worked for a software company can attest, communication breakdowns are the number one issue slowing progress and sending projects off the rails—and those breakdowns can be costly. According to a study from SHRM, small companies of 100 employees lose an average of $420,000 per year due to miscommunication, while large companies with 10,000 or more employees lose $62.4 million.
The truth is, it doesn’t matter how skilled, passionate, or dedicated your software company team members are if they don’t have the means to communicate and share knowledge quickly and effectively.
So what can you do to foster and maintain efficient communication and collaboration? The best step you can take is to develop a modern knowledge management strategy for your software company.
A successful knowledge management strategy gives your organization a planned and documented approach to centralizing company knowledge and making it an actionable, renewable resource. In many cases, it includes adopting a knowledge engagement platform that provides one searchable, customizable space for your organization’s knowledge and insights
Here’s why your software company should have a knowledge management strategy:
A Knowledge Management Strategy Consolidates Information Currently Scattered Across Multiple Platforms
If you don’t have a solid knowledge management strategy and platform in place as your organization grows and scales, people will take knowledge management upon themselves. In most cases, this means information will become scattered across dozens of platforms and spreadsheets—with no clear guidance on how someone can find what they need. Whenever an employee has to hunt down information, they’ll bounce between teams and tools until they locate the material or, more likely, give up.
A knowledge management strategy ensures information is organized in a way that’s logical, efficient, and easily accessible. Instead of sending several emails begging for help and wading through disparate file management programs, employees can quickly locate what they need and move on with their day. And if you use a knowledge engagement platform that’s searchable, you can further eliminate barriers between people and the information they need to perform at their best. Employees don’t need to know the exact title or tags applied to the content they’re looking for; they can simply search for it using intuitive keywords.
It Helps Align Employees Around Shared Objectives
To continue supporting users and meet their evolving needs, software organizations must ensure their workforce aligns on organizational goals. This is incredibly challenging (and even more crucial) for companies that have rapidly grown and continue to expand. As roles change, new hires join, and executives shift focus, you must do everything you can to prevent information from becoming siloed.
While each business unit, department, and team has its own set of goals, every intention should tie back to a larger organizational goal. Furthermore, it’s critical there’s transparency not only within teams but between them, too.
A solid knowledge management strategy is one that ensures every employee—no matter how long their tenure—knows the organization’s mission, how their job fits within the larger fabric of the company, and its ability to achieve those objectives. In addition to improving alignment across teams, this helps increase individual employees’ job satisfaction by making it clear how the work they’re doing contributes to the larger company mission and business goals.
It Streamlines the Onboarding Process
A great employee onboarding experience can increase employee retention by 82 percent, according to research by Glassdoor. But only 12 percent of companies strongly agree that they’re doing it well, according to Gallup. A poor onboarding experience can be especially damaging for software companies, considering software has the highest average employee turnover rate of any industry at 13.2 percent.
Too often, companies hand employees a laptop, access to a few essential programs, and send them on their way. Then, the burden is on new hires to figure out what they don’t know and fill in the gaps on their own, which is a recipe for mistakes, miscommunication, and a poor employee experience. It can take several months (if not years) for employees to gain all the tacit and tribal knowledge they need to be most effective in their roles—that is, assuming you can keep them that long.
A knowledge management strategy, supported by the right platform, will help streamline the onboarding experience by ensuring employees can easily access all the files and information they need whenever they need them. They can also enter queries and search terms to quickly find what they need without wading through irrelevant documents. And if they have a question along the way, they can get fast responses from peers.
It Empowers Your Customer Service Team and Boosts Their Efficiency
If increasing revenue is one of your software organization’s goals, you should focus your efforts on improving customer service. A whopping 86 percent of buyers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience, according to data shared by SuperOffice. Meanwhile, poor experiences are one of the leading causes for customer churn—particularly in the B2B software space.
A knowledge engagement platform fosters employee autonomy and efficiency by keeping customer insights and information organized and easy to find, giving everyone a shared view of the customer and making it easy for sales and service representatives to quickly find the information needed to help customers. It also elevates the customer experience by ensuring messaging is consistent and current—which prevents those messy situations when customer service reps give customers conflicting answers. Plus, it helps employees deliver resolutions faster while reducing hold time and overall call time.
For a growth-driven company, providing a seamless customer experience is crucial to continued success, and a knowledge management strategy can help you get there.
Moving Forward with Knowledge Management for Your Software Company
The software industry is one of the fastest-evolving verticals in the global market. And when you’re scaling at breakneck speeds, even small miscommunications can transform into massive issues. But no matter how hard you try to avoid them, mistakes are much more likely when information is decentralized and scattered.
By developing a knowledge management strategy and supporting it with the right solution, you can mitigate those errors and miscommunications, thereby unlocking even more potential. By democratizing information across the organization, you can improve employee engagement, enhance the customer experience, and ensure everyone is on the same page.